AGSAC Newsletter I English .pdf

Nom original: AGSAC-Newsletter I English.pdfTitre: Newsletter one GSAC English version.pubAuteur: THOMAS BACHA

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On October 20, 2016 in Limbe, Cameroon, a network called the Alliance for the Conservation of Great Apes in Central Africa (A-GSAC) was created
to improve the conservation of great apes in the sub-region.
The six African CSOs behind the initiative, ERUDEF and TF-RD for Cameroon, ESI-Congo in Congo Brazzaville, GACEBB and MMT in the DRC
and PROGRAM in Gabon, are all partners of the Small Initiatives Program (PPI) funded by the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) and
implemented by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
This collective initiative has been built step by step and does not fall out of nowhere. A first strategic workshop held in Nkala, DRC, at the headquarters of the OSC Mbou Mon Tour (MMT) in April 2016, laid the foundations for the identity, vision and mission of the network as well as strategic
objectives and a first 6-month action plan. Exchange visits were then made between representatives of the six actors in order to strengthen cohesion and
to learn more about the actions and specificities of the other members of the network. An important first step ...

The birth of an alliance...

Only after these preliminary steps took place in October 2016 this first constituent AG, paving the way for the legalization of the Alliance in Cameroonian association, status officially obtained in February 2017.

In listening to the great apes, we can only share one conviction: we have a community
of origin and a community of destiny with the whole of living things and man can not
detach his branch from the tree of life. Protecting our closest cousins, and the forests
that shelter them, is an inescapable challenge that mankind must face.

Each of these six NGOs is active in the field and works in a specific context by addressing the conservation of great apes with its own priorities
(research, monitoring and habituation, community support, ecotourism, etc.). Nevertheless, there are commonalities between them, notably on aspects
relating to credibility, the feeling of marginalization within the conservation community, organizational difficulties and the raising of funding. All these
aspects explain this strong desire to share experiences, to act on these common problems and to explore new methods of promoting their work.

However, the observation is dramatic since 70% of the great ape populations have
disappeared in the last 50 years.

The Alliance will function as a platform for exchanges and learning on technical and strategic issues. It will, among other things, enable exchanges visits,
make available technical tools to its members, support project writing and porting, especially on a regional scale, build capacity, and promote good governance inside the network. The logic associated with the network is based on the collegiality of decisions and the collective construction of actions and

It is in Africa, and particularly in the Congo Basin, that the vast majority of the great
apes that inhabit our planet are found. On this continent of contrast, where wonder
marries the intolerable, we can not ignore that the most basic needs are not accessible
to all men and women. But we can not resign ourselves to sacrificing, on the altar of
economic development, this unique heritage which constitutes our common past as
well as our common future.

The world of conservation is changing step by step, technical and institutional innovations are now available, and good governance and citizen engagement are now recognized as determining factors for the success of conservation and development processes. African civil society has a major role to play
in these areas, and if not the case, the conservation objectives set at national, regional and global levels could not be sustainably achieved.

Protecting the forests and great apes that inhabit them is the only way to ensure a
desirable future.
How can we not rejoice when we learn that an alliance is born in this sense?
What is more, an alliance between African actors who, for years and closest to the
realities on the ground, carry out their actions with dedication and determination.
As an echo of the paths traced by Diane Fossey, Jane Goodall and more recently
Sabrina Krief, these NGOs pose as guardians of a world heritage whose humanity
probably does not measure all the value.
Let us hope that this nascent alliance is the first stone of an unprecedented
mobilization whose magnitude is equal to the stake it defends.

The edito ................................. 1
The creation ............................ 2
MBOU MON TOUR ................ 3
GACEBB .................................. 4

These six NGOs have strong local legitimacy, intervene in territories with major ecological stakes, and progressively accumulate valuable expertise and
credibility. National and international mechanisms are increasingly demanding local ownership of conservation processes, which promises real prospects
for the A- GSAC and its members ... For the benefit of the conservation of Great Apes living in the ecosystems of the Congo Basin and the local populations living in their direct proximity ...
Thomas BACHA - Coordinator of the Capacity Building Component of the PPI - IUCN-PACO

ERUDEF .................................. 5
TF-RD...................................... 6
PROGRAM .............................. 7
ESI CONGO ............................. 8
The interview .......................... 9

Nicolas Hulot
« Fondation Nicolas Hulot pour la Nature et l’Homme »
Civil society, Great Apes, Congo
Bassin, Conservation, Local
Developpement, Governance,
Citizen engagement


AGSAC first strategic meeting - NKALA (RDC) - April 2016


Bonobo (Pan paniscus) is an endemic species of the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC). Its genetic heritage is 98% similar
to that of man. Considered as pygmies of
chimpanzees, bonobos are physically quite
similar but slightly smaller than these ones.
They are reputed to be more peaceful,
social and resolve conflict, especially via
sexuality, not violence. The bonobo society is matriarchal.

and work together while males are not as
social. This is exactly the opposite of the
chimpanzee society where males have a
strong fraternity and work together.
To know more
IUCN Red List: Pan paniscus

Why? Females collaborate, form bonds


In 2001, MMT surprised the scientific world by announcing the presence of bonobos in the
Bolobo Territory, a region located about 300 km north of Kinshasa, within a forest-savanna
mosaic where they were thought to be extinct. Despite the initial lack of attention to the initiative, but with local support from local chiefs and local populations, MMT initiates awareness campaigns to protect bonobos in the area. Lacking resources, MMT initially designed a
communication model aimed at the general public through popular songs based on Teké customs and prohibiting the hunting and consumption of bonobo meat, with troops as Bonobo
Folk bringing in the villages a message of awareness through dramatic dances and songs.

Jean Christophe BOKIKA NGAWOLO
(+243) 998337314-810340845
Ferme MMT, Nkala, Territoire de
Bolobo, Province de Maï-Ndombe.
Bureau de représentation à Kinshasa:
Boulevard Lumumba, n° 2550, Concession Foleco, Kinshasa/Limete

Sites for monitoring and community surveillance of bonobos by some forty village trackers
have gradually been set up and several organizations are now supporting the dynamic, which
is an innovation in conservation, being the work of the local populations who have decided to
devote a part of the forest spaces to the community conservation of this emblematic species,
paving the way for the classification of 6 “Forêts des Communautés Locales” (FCL), for
which the files are currently in the desk of the provincial governor of Mai Ndombe.
The vision of MMT is that of a world where people meet their primary needs through the
sustainable management of natural resources. To contribute to this vision, MMT has the
mission of supporting local communities in development initiatives compatible with the conservation and rational management of biodiversity in the province of Mai-Ndombe.
The main lines of action for MMT are awareness raising, community conservation and research, ranking of FCL, and support for socio-economic development, through support for
sustainable agriculture and ecotourism.
Its headquarters welcoming visitors, Eco tourists and researchers is located two kilometers
from the village of Nkala in the chieftaincy of Batéké North.

GACEBB began its activities in 2009 as a continuation of the program of the green caps of
the French NGO AWELY in the DRC. The NGO vision is a world where people cohabit
harmoniously with their ecosystems in prosperity. Its mission is to contribute to the conservation of the Basankusu and Bolomba ecosystems by the Informed and Preliminary Free
Consent (IPFC) of local communities and through income-generating micro-projects.
GACEBB operates in part of the territory of Basankusu, and the whole territory of Bolomba,
in an area between the Maringa-Lopori-Wamba (MLW) landscape, Salonga National Park,
Tumba Nature Reserve -Ledima and the landscape Lake Tele-Lake Tumba.
Its areas of intervention are the support to local communities, environmental education, the
fight against climate change, investigation and research.
As part of its support program for local communities, GACEBB collaborates with farmer
organizations on goat breeding, fish farming projects and a vegetable garden project. 10
goats, 5 fish ponds and 9 vegetable gardens have already been developed.
Concerning the conservation dimensions, a bonobo monitoring project was initiated in August 2016 to determine the zones with the strongest stakes of conservation of the species
and thus to target as much as possible the supports and the zones which can be classified in
Forests of Local Communities (FCL). Two forests seem to show important stakes
(FONDE 130 km from Basankusu and SOOLA at 60 km).

(+243) 813337422
300m de l’aérodrome de Basankusu

In 1996, a team of professionals created the "Association of Agricultural Sector and Environmental Research” (ASERG). Its activities were mainly in Lebialem Division, South
West of Cameroon. After several years of research, the members of ASERG decided to create an enlarged group able to face the challenges identified on the ground.
On August 1999, a Constituent General Assembly was held in Buea with the aim of expanding the activities of ASERG. Thus, ERuDeF was born as a non-profit Cameroonian
It is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and the protection of fragile environments
through research, training, education and participation of the community.
After seventeen years of activity, ERuDeF has supported the Government of Cameroon in
its efforts to conserve biodiversity through its various programmes such as the Great Apes
Research and Conservation; a program that intervenes in the forests of West Cameroon.
Today, ERuDeF remains one of the main Cameroonian conservation and research NGO on
apes. It has supported the creation of some Protected Areas in the Lebialem Highlands in
Western Cameroon.


In 2014, ERuDeF coordinated the efforts that led to the establishment of the Tofala Hills
Wildlife Sanctuary, the first PA in the Lebialem division in south West Cameroon.

(+237) 233 223 382


ERuDeF also became the first national NGO in Cameroon to facilitate the signing of a
Mutual Agreement (MOU) under the Access and Benefit-Sharing Initiative (ABS) process
in the sub-Region of Central Africa. In 2016, another mutually agreed agreement for research on Mondial whitei was signed in Cameroon thanks to the ERuDeF facilitation.

In a near future, ERuDeF is eager to publish the Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.

BP.189 Buea
Police Roundabout, Buea Town



Gorillas in the Central African Region
continue to decline due to poaching, habitat loss and disease. National parks and
reserves in six range countries protect only
21% of Western Lowland Gorillas according to a recent report by WWF.
Though fragile conservation gains made in
recent decades have slowed the rate of decline, these animals are under serious threat
from growing human populations, rapid

expansion of extractive industries and industrial agriculture, widespread lack of law
enforcement and corruption in the judicial

IUCN Red List Gorilla Gorilla




Established in 2010, the NGO began its activities on an environmental education project on gorillas,
aimed at primary schools in villages around the DBR, the "bus ambulant", supported by the Prague

Diseases like Ebola remain a major threat
to both Great Apes and millions of people
in the world. Western Lowland Gorilla
continue to be threatened by wildlife criminals seeking to supply the illegal commercial market and demand for bush meat,
particularly in urban areas.
To know more


TF-RD is a Cameroonian association working in the northern periphery of the Dja Biosphere Reserve
(DBR), specifically in the district of Messamessa within an area of about 3,500 ha, comprising 24 villages with a population estimated at About 3,000 inhabitants. The nearest village to the Protected Area,
Mimpalla, is located less than 15 km from the reserve limit.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified Gorillas as one of the critically endangered
wildlife species in Africa and in the world.
There are fewer than 300 Cross River
Gorillas remaining in the world and they
are found only in Nigeria and Cameroon,
with up to 280 of these in Cameroon.


Starting in 2013 with the support of IUCN, a project supports farmers on the periphery of the reserve
to intensify their cocoa production, develop new integrated cocoa beans in agroforestry systems located
in old cocoa beans or in old fallows. The NGO also supports the valorisation of Non-Ligneous Forest
Products (NLFPs) while working on the development of economic cosmetics , in partnership with the
French NGO Man And Nature. Started in 2016, a project to manage apes and cocoa-based agro forests
aims specifically to promote better cohabitation between these species and cocoa farmers.
Danielle KOPLONG
(+237) 676 88 04 89
BP 4950 Yaoundé

TF-RD's mission is to contribute to create a socio-economic environment that supports the empowerment of local communities and the conservation of biodiversity through four areas of intervention: environmental education, valorisation of NLFPs, agroforestry and ecotourism.
In the coming months, the priority will be to extend the agro-forests cocoa approach in new communities of the Dja loop on about 100ha and to support the regeneration of approximately 150 ha of more
than 40 years old cocoa plantations.. The NGO will continue to valorise in butters and oils the cocoa
and the other harvested NWFPs (moabi, wild mango, djansang and Allamblakia), to seek out markets
for the different products, increase the processing capacity of the Yaoundé processing platform and
operationalize the cooperative's management plan for hunting.


Chimpanzee is a primate, anthropoid living
in the wild exclusively in Africa, belonging
to the genus Pan (like the Bonobos) and
belonging to the species Troglodytes. He is
genetically the animal the closest to man
and lives mainly in forest, tropical moist or
dry, and sometimes ventures into savannah.
Its diet is omnivorous, consisting of fruits,
leaves, flowers, bark, sap, nuts, insects and
occasionally birds and small mammals.

patriarchal, the only dominant male reigning over the community with a strict hierarchy established but nevertheless subject
to frequent changes according to the
"political" alliances between males. Chimpanzees living in the wild are subject to
various threats such as destruction of ecosystems, poaching for their meat, contamination of diseases, catching often by killing
adults to retrieve small for sale as pets.

The chimpanzee lives in community of
several tens of individuals whose members
move from group to group, in search of
food and social contacts. The society is

To know more
IUCN Red List: Pan troglodytes





Established in 2009, ESI CONGO is developing a project to conserve gorillas and chimpanzees in the Mayombe Forest by working with local communities to stop poaching of
these primates and reduce hunting pressure on biodiversity in the Kakamoeka district.
The vision of the NGO is a Congolese society conscious of the richness of its environmental heritage, who takes care of it and valorises it to improve its conditions. Its mission is to
contribute to the preservation of biodiversity with populations by encouraging their local
initiatives, building their capacities so that they can live in harmony with their environment.
The project is developing in south-eastern Congo, 150 km from Pointe-Noire, in an area
between the Conkouati National Park, the Dimonika Reserve and the chimpanzee sanctuary
of Tchimpounga. It covers an area of 123 km² including the villages of Loaka, Magne,
Sexo, Ndinga, Mfilou and Boungolo.

Guillaume TATI
(+ 242) 05 612 72 16
Immeuble IFC, rue Kaat matou,
Rond-point Kasai. Pointe-Noire

ESI CONGO's main areas of focus are scientific research, conservation education, support
for alternative economic activities, the strengthening of the local natural resource use and
biodiversity management system.
In terms of results, it is possible to talk about an inventory of gorillas, the monitoring of
habitats by camera traps, the creation of a database about the sale of bushmeat, support for
the creation of a cooperative and to the development of alternative economic activities. A
community fund fed by the benefits of ecotourism and a local consultation committee to
improve the participation and involvement of communities in the rational management of
natural resources have also been created.
ESI CONGO intends to continue this project to solve the conservation issues concerning
great apes of this zone while allowing local communities to benefit better from the conservation of the biodiversity of their territory.

PROGRAM was created in 2004 by the late General Athanase N'ZAMBA and Professor Pierre
André KOMBILA KOUMBA and officially recognized in 2007.
The NGO works in the Moukalaba-Doudou National Park (PNMD), in the South-East of
Gabon, within the Gamba Protected Areas (CAPG) complex, specifically on the 3 sites of Doussala, Douguetsi and Mbani.
Its mission is to preserve the biodiversity of the PNMD and its periphery and to integrate the
local populations in the process of conservation and valorisation of their heritage through four
objectives that are to protect the threatened species of the region, especially the great apes of
Doussala, to develop community ecotourism and to diversify economic activities in order to
fight poverty, rural exodus and reduce anthropogenic pressure on biodiversity.
To achieve these objectives, the areas of activity are the establishment of an eco-tourism product
focused on habituated gorillas of the PNMD, tourism promotion, sensitization of local populations, environmental education and development support to community projects.
PROGRAM has two offices, one in Tchibanga, where the technical department responsible for
carrying out project activities is located, and one in Libreville, where the decision-making body
responsible for defining the projects and strategy of the NGO is located. It employs 18 staff
including an Executive Director acting under the authority of the Board Chair and includes a
tourism department and a conservation department.
Since 2014, PROGRAM has initiated a program of habituation of a gorilla group for tourism.
Two years later, very positive results were recorded, such as the identification of a second group,
the construction of the habituation camp and the increase in numbers of contact days.
PROGRAM launched ecotourism in PNMD in 2010 and saw the number of tourists increase
from 43 to more than 150 tourists per year. 4 tour operators work with the NGO and a team of
6 people led by a tourism coordinator manages this activity on the ground.

(+241) 06 43 89 49/07 43 22 00
Montée de Louis, Libreville Gabon

Jean-Christophe, the area of Bolobo, where Mbou Mon Tour (MMT) intervenes for several years now, shelters a species of great ape emblematic of
Central Africa and particularly threatened. Can you tell us a bit more about that? What are the characteristics of the Bolobo region ?
The Bolobo region is located north of the mouth of the Kasai River, 300 km north of Kinshasa and is home to bonobos, a species endemic to the DRC
and endangered on the IUCN Red List. By the way, the bonobo derives its name from the deformation of "Bolobo", the locality from which the first specimen was sent abroad. In terms of conservation, our bonobos are "exceptional" because they live in an area where they were long believed to be extinct.
Moreover, from a scientific point of view, they live in a habitat considered atypical, our zone being a mosaic of forest-savannah where the bonobos frequent
the two ecosystems.

Tell us a word about MMT, the association of which you are president, the activities carried out in the field to protect the bonobos of Bolobo...
MMT was born during a meeting held in April 1997 in Nkala, my native village, following an observation of scarcity of natural resources made by university cadres and villagers. From the beginning, the association has set itself the objectives of protecting the environment, promoting environmental education
and developing alternative economic activities.
Thanks to the contributions of our members, we have set up an agro pastoral farm that also hosts our headquarters. Since 2001, we have been active in the
protection of bonobos, raising awareness on the basis of customary but also national and international laws. We have thus revalorized the traditional taboo
Téké which considers the bonobo as a human whose hunting is strictly forbidden. As a result, six villages in our region decided to devote a portion of their
forest to the protection of bonobos and monkeys, and we now have two monkey monitoring sites, six sites for bonobos, three of which are intended for
bonobos to the habituation in order to develop ecotourism.

Working with local communities living in the bonobo habitat area is particularly important in the approach developed by MMT. What is your
vision of conservation? How do you work with local communities to protect Bolobo's bonobos?
Our project is original because it was initiated by the local populations themselves where a large part of the conservation initiatives carried out in the DRC
are first and foremost the work of the State or international organizations. populations having for long been kept away from the Protected Areas, some
having even suffered humiliations by being displaced from their land without any compensation. Local communities thus felt that the State was sacrificing
them to the benefit of animals. Our approach is to find a fair and delicate balance between human and animal interests, a sort of peaceful coexistence pact
between the two species. To do this, local populations have, through participatory mapping, defined areas reserved for the conservation of bonobos and
those reserved for human activities. In the past, such work was carried out in an air-conditioned office of Kinshasa and it was imposed on the villagers, this
is all the difference.

What are your perspectives on the ground? What actions will be taken and what are your priorities for the months to come?
Concerning the allocation of our forest concessions, the files of 6 customary communities are already completed and submitted to the Governor of MaiNdombe; but several other neighbouring village communities have expressed their willingness to join the process of establishing community forests.
Our bonobos and monkeys study and monitoring sites regularly host researchers and students from all over the world and it is now possible to observe
bonobos in the wild for a significant period of time. The proximity of our region with Kinshasa and Brazzaville is an important asset in scientific research
and development of tourism and a project is under discussion with a French tour operator to promote ecotourism. It should also be noted that at the beginning of 2016, we organized a first pilot ecotourism expedition and a French television station came to shoot a documentary.
In addition, we are continuing our projects to rehabilitate basic and livestock infrastructures. Since last September, we have also welcomed an international
volunteer who helps us to define a global program on sustainable agriculture for the region. On the other hand, MMT is working on its strategic document, with the support of WELL GROUNDED and IUCN and continues to carry out its traditional activities of habituation, monitoring and sensitization of communities.

As an organization of Congolese civil society, what major difficulties do you face at the present time in order to complete your mandate? What do
you think is lacking in order that actors such as MMT can fully play their role and achieve greater impacts?
Like most Congolese civil society organizations, the main difficulties of MMT are mainly related to a lack of resources and a lack of qualified personnel. In
addition, there is a lack of communication because our conservation actions are not sufficiently known from the general public and therefore do not have
the support they need. Participation in major international conferences requires, for example, important means which we often lack. We hope that the AGSAC will also make a difference. On the other hand, collaboration with some of our partners sometimes causes problems on the ground, either because of
incompetence or sometimes because of dishonesty. We were confronted with such a situation during our work on the creation of community forests, one of
which once again carried out the activities already successfully carried out by MMT in order to control the process at all costs. Finally, we need clearer and
stronger support from the Congolese government. We appeal to the Governor of the Province of Maï-Ndombe in order that the decrees we are impatiently
awaiting for be finally signed so that we can definitively operationalize the process of community forestry that we have initiated several years now.

From left to right, up to down : Wells MTO WA SOKYE (MMT), Aimé Manfred EPANDA (TF-RD), Guillaume

The A-GSAC is an initiative of six CSOs from four Central African countries, supported by the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM)
Small Scale Initiatives Program (PPI), a program implemented by IUCN .-PACO and IUCN-French Committee.
It was created in April 2016 in Nkala (DRC), at the headquarters of the Congolese NGO Mbou Mon Tour and then formalized in Limbe
(Cameroon) in October 2016, at the first General Assembly constituting the network which made it a legal Cameroonian association .
Its mission is to strengthen the contribution of Central African NGOs to the conservation of great apes and their habitats by i) building the capacity of the network members, ii) enhancing the work and results of these activities, iii) mobilizing funds for them and (iv) promoting good governance within the network.
President: Louis NKEMBI General Secretary: Guillaume TATI Treasurer: Wells MTO WA SOKYE

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